Privacy Protections

Priya V -

Hello everyone!

Today I thought I’d talk a bit about a very important facet of research with human subjects: protecting their privacy. My interview- and survey-based method exclusively gathers data from human participants, so this was at the forefront of my mind while I was designing this study.

Protecting study participants is very important to conducting ethical research, as well as gathering accurate data. My study maintains the anonymity of participants, even from their employer, in order to ensure that their answers would not be swayed by the potential of being associated with them. In my survey, participants were informed beforehand that their answers would not be shared, and data that was shared would be de-identified before being written or presented. They were also able to skip any questions that they wished. Additionally, in the spreadsheet that I am using to analyze the survey data, the columns containing their affirmation and answers to the consent portion of the survey were completely erased, along with any email address that they provided if they had a question for me. 

In terms of interviews, my interview consent form informed participants that they would be audio recorded, and that the recordings would be transcribed immediately after collection without their name or identifying information included, so that the data could be safely used and quoted without compromising participants’ privacy. 

Finally, I provided multiple ways for participants to contact me, the Principal Investigator, if they had any questions. Within the survey, there was an option for them to leave a question and their email address for me, and I would reply to their question after they submitted the survey. If they had a question before completing the survey, my email address was included at multiple points in the survey so they could reach out with any questions. I put similar measures in place for my interviewees, providing them with my email address after reaching out to schedule and inviting them to reach out with any questions that they had for me. 

These measures are all to protect the people who were gracious enough to participate in this project, and provided me with the data that I will use.


– Priya <3

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All viewpoints are welcome but profane, threatening, disrespectful, or harassing comments will not be tolerated and are subject to moderation up to, and including, full deletion.

    Hi Priya! Glad to see how big of a role the subject's consent and privacy have in your project and the steps you take to make sure it stays private!
    Hi Colin, thank you so much! It was really important to me that my respondents felt safe and comfortable with participating in my study.
    Alana Rothschild
    Hi Priya! You really covered all bases in regards to confidentiality and I love that you reinforce the importance of this. Human subjects can definitely be tricky and it is crucial that they can be honest and open without worrying about possible consequences. Great job!
    Hello Ms. Rothschild, and thank you! It's something that I feel very strongly about due to previous research and history that I have learned about. Particularly in the book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," I learned a lot about some of the negative consequences and past transgressions against human safety and confidentiality in terms of scientific research.

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